Project TypeCultural & CivicEducationSustainability
LocationThe Battery, NYC
ClientThe Battery Conservancy
The Battery Playscape is an intentionally flexible framework that supports open-ended play informed by the local ecology. As children traverse the playground’s 1.5 acres, they experience a freeing, plant-filled spaciousness that is uncommon for many city-dwellers.
The ecological story begins with The Battery’s location at the prow of Manhattan where the Hudson River meets New York Harbor. Created by successive landfills over several centuries, much of the park, including the playground, is low-lying land, vulnerable to storm surge, high winds, and in-land flooding. The project tangibly demonstrates how the best practices of resilient design can offer a rich play experience – one that deeply connects children to natural elements and the realities of climate change, while expanding their creative capacity. Impermeable paving visibly directs surface runoff to verdant raingardens crisscrossed by foot bridges, integrating environmental management practices into the very heart of the play experience. Plants play a key role in increasing the resiliency of the site while also fostering visitors’ connection to nature. The landscape design features diverse, seasonal plants that are aromatic and tactile, encouraging closer inspection. Specific plants were selected for their durability and high salt tolerance, due to flooding risks.
Together, the project’s architecture and landscape design instills a sense of stewardship, encouraging locals and the Battery’s many international visitors to envision coastal cities that work with – rather than against – natural forces. For children, playgrounds are an especially apt place for imparting these lessons, since play catalyzes full-sensory, embodied learning processes. This didactic component of the design serves as a complement to the project’s dual focus on water management and playability.
SARA New York Chapter, Design Award, 2023
Chicago Athenaeum Green GOOD DESIGN Sustainability Awards, Green Urban Planning /Landscape Architecture 2023, 2023
AIA New York State Design Award, Merit, 2023
AIANY Design Award, Merit, 2023
Society of American Registered Architects (SARA) National Award, Excellence, 2022
American Society of Landscape Architects, NY (ASLA-NY) 2020 Design Awards, Merit Award, 2020
Society of American Registered Architects (National), Design Award of Honor, 2016
American Architecture Prize, Architectural Design / Recreational Architecture - Honorable Mention, 2016
“Design Details: Six of This Year’s Award-Winning Projects,” AIANY Oculus |Spring 2023 Issue, May 2023
“Battery Playscape in World Landscape Architecture,” World Landscape Architecture, September 2022
“The Battery brings fun and resiliency at new playground,” Spectrum News NY1, June 2022
“This $18 Million Playground Doubles As An Unusual Barrier Against Rising Sea Levels,” Fast Company, June 2022
“Play With a Purpose: Newly-Constructed NYC Playscape Serves as Example for Urban Flood Zone Landscapes,” The Construction Management Association of America, February 2022
“NYC’s New Battery Playscape Combines Education with Climate-Resilient Design,” Sustainable Brands, December 2021
“A playground for Battery Park,” New York Times, December 2021
Landscape Architect – Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners
Structural – Weidlinger Associates
MEP – Wesler-Cohen Associates
Playground Equipment – Richter Spielgerate
Playground Safety Consultant – Site Masters, Inc.
Civil Engineer – Sherwood Design Engineers
Theater Design and Fabrication – SITU Fabrication
Bench and Canopy Fabricator – Maglin Site Furniture
Dune Consultant – Fine Concrete
Photography: Sahar Coston-Hardy; Inessa Binenbaum; Pavel Bendov; NYC Parks / Malcolm Pinckney; Diane Bondareff; BKSK Architects